Learning to write effective web sentences

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Communication between people is 55% body language, 38% tone of voice, and only 7% the words you actually say. Quickly consider the impact of stripping away 93% of the meaning someone understands from …

Communication between people is 55% body language, 38% tone of voice, and only 7% the words you actually say. Quickly consider the impact of stripping away 93% of the meaning someone understands from an idea you are trying to communicate — something we do every single day when we create or interact online. The efficacy of that remaining 7% becomes incredibly important, especially if you have business or personal brand investments on the line.

Writing great, concise sentences to support and market your content is possibly the most important tactic necessary to spread content online. Don’t worry, this isn’t a grammar lesson (though we will talk about grammar). This simply a list of guidelines and items to consider consider when writing for the web.

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  • 1. Check out this totally awesom ] [ Learning to write effective sentences for the web. Powered by
  • 2. Sentences are not trivial online. Communication between people is: ? 38% tone of voice. 55% body language
  • 3. Some quick math reveals that only 7% of communication are the literal words you say (or type).
  • 4. That means 93% of all meaning is stripped away online.
  • 5. That leftover 7% is pretty damn important.
  • 6. +1 So here are some tips for crafting the best sentences you can online.
  • 7. Length The average length of an English word is 5.1 letters. An average sentence is 14.3 words. COFFEE The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog and then made a clean getaway. Which means 86.23 characters. A little much for Twitter, huh?
  • 8. Pro-tip Good sentences for social media are 10 words or less.
  • 9. Verbs and Nouns verbs Studies have been performed that show being more effective at grabbing attention online than nouns.
  • 10. Pro-tip Put actions words and numbers at the beginning of your sentences for the most impact.
  • 11. Syntax and Grammar English uses a “syntactic” grammar system.. which is fancy for “put your words in the right order.” EXAMPLE: “Now save money on marketing by subscribing to Scoop.it for Business” vs “Save money on marketing by subscribing to Scoop.it for Business now.”
  • 12. Pro-tip Try to avoid complex sentences when writing for the web. Use adjectives and adverbs sparingly — they can confuse your meaning.
  • 13. Word choice In British-English, “a rubber” means “eraser.” “A rubber” definitely does not mean “eraser” in American-English.
  • 14. EXAMPLE: “The article illuminated the author’s opinion.” vs “The article illustrated the author’s opinion.” Big difference in meaning for only 2 different syllables.
  • 15. Pro-tip Avoid Thesaurus.com like the plague and keep culture-specific words to a minimum
  • 16. Style The editorial style of anything you write for the web should support your core values and target market. Your voice should shine through in a consistent, meaningful way.
  • 17. EXAMPLE: Twitter We totally lawled about the 2008 financial crisis, guys. It was sooooooo stoopid. #YOLO Bloomberg Bloomberg Financial Would you take them seriously?
  • 18. Pro-tip Do some market research to decide what type of language engages your audience best. Compile an editorial style guide to keep your voice consistent across the brand.
  • 19. Join the revolution. Join the revolution.